387 | Crafting Your Vision from Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang

Crafting Your Vision is an essential skill if you want to create a new future. Leaders in companies that can craft a compelling vision are more effective in aligning the people. Period. Vision is the future state of what you are creating. Your mission is the right you are want to change. Crafting your vision includes some essential parts. Today, I interview Andrew Yang to talk about the power of vision and how to craft. Yang is a 2020 candidate for Presidency of the United States. Discover the power of crafting your vision in this interview.

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Target Audience: Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur and author running for President as a Democrat in 2020. In 2011 he founded Venture for America, a national entrepreneurship fellowship, and spent the last 6 years creating jobs in cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.


Andrew Yang: The Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

This is leaders in the trenches and your host today is Gene Hammett.

Gene Hammett: Hi, my name is Gene Hammett. I am going to talk to you about vision today. How big is your vision? Well, I wanted to have someone here who’s got a really big crazy vision. Andrew Yang is Asian. You probably figured that out, but he’s also going after the presidential race in 2020 that’s a really big vision. I wanted to have him on the show because he thinks about vision. The way startups do. He has comes from the startup culture as a serial entrepreneur, but he also is running for president on a big vision and doing something big and bold. You may not agree with everything he says. I probably don’t agree with everything he says, but I do want you to think about how your vision is critical to the growth of your company and look at what Andrew’s doing and some of the things he’s doing.

Gene Hammett: You talk about a very specific approach of finding a leverage point. That leverage point is critical to your success. So this is the interview with Andrew Yang, the potential president of the United States in 2020 happy to bring it to you. Here’s the interview with Andrew.

Gene Hammett: Andrew, how are you?

Andrew Yang: Doing well Gene, thank you for having me.

Gene Hammett: Well, excited to have you here. Leaders in the trenches. I’ve already let an audience know a little bit about you and the background of a serial entrepreneur, but you know, take us to where you are right now. Who are you and who are you serving these days?

Andrew Yang: Well, right now I’m running for president of the United States, the Democrat in 2020 declared my candidacy and the New York Times where you just hundreds of thousands of dollars and I’m running on a platform that I think would be very relevant to your listeners and viewers. I’m running on a platform that we’re going through the greatest technological and economic transformation and the history of the world and we need to to make big changes to enable Americans to prosper in the new economy because we are in the process of automating away the most common jobs in the United States. We started with manufacturing since the turn of the century and now we’re heading to retail where 30% of malls are going to close in the next four years. Working in retail is the most common job in the United States. The average retail workers, a 39 year old woman who makes between 11 and $12 an hour, high school educated, it’s very unclear what their next options are going to be. Truck driving the most common job in 29 states, three and a half million truckers, 94% male, average age, 49. Average education. Again, high school, uh, we’re five to 10 years away from robot convoys of trucks, fast food, clerical work, call center work and on and on. We are decimating the most common jobs in the country and we need to think much, much bigger about what that’s going to mean for our country and society. And that’s why I’m running for president.

Gene Hammett: You know, whenever I think about, you know, this whole automation and ai and everything that’s coming down the pike, I think about the new opportunities. Now that’s part of the optimist in me. I don’t really think about all the negative downsides, but you’re, you’re really looked at and studied the impact this is going to have on a broad economic scale, right? Andrew?

Andrew Yang: Well, I’m a serial entrepreneur. I consider myself very, can do an optimistic as well, but you have to be real about what the impact for most Americans mean. Most Americans are not entrepreneurs and not going to be running their own companies and they’re going to be feeling the brunt of this and communities around the country. And you can see by the numbers that already the adjustment is going terribly for many, many Americans where the labor force participation rate right now is down to 62.9% the same levels as El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Fewer Americans are starting businesses. You’re Americans are moving across state lines. You are Americans or even getting married or having kids, which are acts of optimism. So if you look into it, you realize that we are coming apart from the inside out because of changes in the economy. And again, I’m an entrepreneur.

Andrew Yang: You’re an entrepreneur. People are watching this are entrepreneurs. But we know that most Americans right now can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill, much less start a company. And so imagining that Americans are going to be infinitely adaptable in the face of these changes is just not borne out by the numbers.

Gene Hammett: When you think about this, I mean we opened up in our kind of pre-roll here, we talked about the digital transformation going on here. What are the next big milestones that you see in digital transformation that we should be looking for?

Andrew Yang: Well, you know what? You see the difference based upon where people live really. Cause like you’re in Atlanta, which is one of the hubs, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, the hubs, you know a lot of those communities are growing quickly and thriving and then in other parts of the country, unfortunately the benchmarks tend to be heading the other direction where if you have, for example, ai is able to perform a call center worker, who right now makes $14 an hour, that’s going to be great for many corporations because they’ll be able to lighten their expenses in terms of customer service.

Andrew Yang: But then you have on the flip side, two and a half million call center workers in the United States, we’ll probably lose, lose many of their jobs. So the digital transformation you’re talking about is going to be experienced very differently from different by really different regions and different parts of the country.

Gene Hammett: So you know, a lot of people listening in here are business owners and they’ve got, you know, maybe a handful of employees, some of them may have, you know, 50 employees, somebody who have 500 or more employees that they’re leading. What does they do, the things they should be concerned about and this new transformation.

Andrew Yang: Well, you know, I’ve run a small company myself, a small private company that then grew to become number one in the u s and it was acquired by a public company in 2009 and I feel for business owners right now, because if they’re anything like me, you’re trying to grow your business, you’re trying to be a good manager, a good leader, a good person.

Andrew Yang: But at the same time you start recognizing that your bottom line is being guided less and less by expanding and hiring tons of people and it’s being guided more by trying to be lean and mean and smart and you’re figuring out that you can do more with less and so that the balance for many leaders right now is figuring out what that means in terms of your organization. If you’re on top of a big organization and it’s very likely that you’re realizing that you probably don’t need all these people around. If you’re the head of a small organization, you’re trying to figure out which of your people are adaptable enough that you can keep refocusing them on new tasks even though their jobs completely change as a lot of the work’s getting done more and more by the machines and software.

Gene Hammett: I did read your bio. You’re in the Silicon Valley area, is that right?

Andrew Yang: Well, right now I’m in Manhattan where I live most, but I’ve been by coastal for about six years.

Gene Hammett: Okay. And my question here is, you know, a lot of the, the experience you have is a serial entrepreneur and selling your company is in startup culture. Give us an idea of why we should be thinking a little bit more like startups as leaders.

Andrew Yang: Well, I love startups. I mean I started an organization called venture for America that train hundreds of young entrepreneurs to head to cities around the country to start businesses. So that’s how much I love startup culture. I’ve always been a startup guy and I liked building from the ground up and it’s certainly true in my mind that most corporate leaders need to try and take a page from that book where they start imagining if you had to start your business or division today from Ground Zero, what would it look like? Would it look like what you currently have? In most cases you’ll find out that it probably would look quite different. And there’s someone out there who’s thinking the same thing, but they do not have the same legacy organization. And so I think that this is going to be the most transformative period in American business history. And leaders need to continually reflect on how they would perform those functions if they had to start from ground zero.

Gene Hammett: So let’s get into some specifics. Is there something that, you know, an exercise that you do or the way you approach that thinking of that startup culture?

Andrew Yang: You know, you know, my experience has been similar to the many other people I’m sure you’ve interviewed, is that if you give people room to run and ownership, there’s nothing like it. It’s very invigorating and empowering and you can’t fake it. Like either someone has a responsibility to make or break in particular role or responsibility or they don’t. It’s one thing I’m enjoying running for president now is that it turns out a political campaign is very much like a startup where you have young, energized, passionate, idealistic people and they’re on the front line and if they mess up, it’s not abstract, it’s actually felt. Again, there’s no substitute for real responsibility. So that’s been my emo throughout my career and people tend to thrive in my experience. You get the right people, they love responsibility.

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Gene Hammett: Well the way I look at this, Andrew has, you know, a lot of you were talking about responsibility and, and not to diminish your words or debate you at all, but it’s about going beyond that. You know, one of the stories that kind of sharing in my speeches is this whole concept of your first car that you owned. You probably remember the first color of the car you own. Right? But do you remember the the rental car that you first had? You took responsibility for that rental car, but we treat that rental car completely different than the one that you owned. That’s the way I think about it.

Andrew Yang: Ownership culture is the key and I’m going to suggest something that might be really dramatic, but it’s something I believe I’m a parent. I do have joe kids yourself, Gene.

Gene Hammett: I’ve got 11 year old as much as anybody.

Andrew Yang: So what I’d like to suggest is that we adopted ownership culture towards communities that are bigger than our businesses. Where I do look up and say, okay, I’m a parent, you’re a parent where Americans and we project forward as to what this country is going to look like for our children, for my sons and, and your son or daughter as, I don’t know, your 11 year old is a son.

Gene Hammett: Son.

Andrew Yang: Yeah. For for my sons are your son. And I think it’s very easy for anyone with their head on straight to predict that they’re going to be many dramatic changes coming up that are not going to serve many, many Americans well at all. And so then if you think, think bigger about, okay, let’s say I’m an ownership of an owner of this country, which I think as citizens we are, then what might we do differently?

Andrew Yang: And to me the biggest thing we could do as owners of this country is to declare a dividend for all citizens. Because if you look forward, you see that we’re going to decimate the most commonly held jobs in the economy. And that right now 57% of Americans can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill. So Americans’ ability to do a, just to move, to retrain, to start new businesses, it’s going to be very, very low. And so what we need to do is we need to give every citizen some of the same sense of ownership that you’ve had, that I’ve had, that entrepreneurs have in dealing with their businesses. And by doing that we could in bigger rate our culture and society in terms of entrepreneurship and creativity on levels that we’ve never seen.

Gene Hammett: So this is a transition into this universal income prospects. So tell us a little bit about what that is and how you see that working.

Andrew Yang: Sure. So my policy is the freedom dividend, which is a universal basic income of $1,000 per month, or every adult in America, every adult citizen between the ages of 18 and 64. Now this seems dramatic, but Thomas Paine was for this in the beginning of the country and in later years, Martin Luther King was for it. Milton Friedman was for it. 1,000 economist signed the letter saying this would be great for the economy and society and an even passed the House of Representatives in 1971 and one state, Alaska adopted it in 1982 we’re now everyone in Alaska, I guess between one and $2,000 a year in an oil dividend. And it’s wildly popular in a very conservative state, has created thousands of new jobs, improve children’s health, and has reduced income inequality. So what I ask people is what is the oil of the 21st century? And everyone watching this knows that it’s technology, it’s big data, it’s Ai, it’s autonomous vehicles.

Andrew Yang: So we can do what Alaska has done with oil or the entire country with the incredible advances and new technologies. And without that kind of dividend, most Americans will not experience the benefits of all of these advances that we’re making.

Gene Hammett: So I get an idea of what it is, and I know you’ve probably understand the counterpoints to this. What are the downsides to this universal income?

Andrew Yang: You know, the downsides are fairly minimal in my mind because there are a lot of myths where people think like, oh, people won’t work anymore, even though the data does not suggest that. And that $1,000 a month is still below the u s poverty line of $12,770 a year or so. No one’s going to quit their job on that. In studies, only two groups have worked less new moms who spend more time with our kids and teenagers who spend more time in school and graduate high school at higher levels.

Andrew Yang: So you can very clearly see the benefits in terms of nutrition and education and business formation and economic growth. And then the downsides are essentially phantoms. As soon as you dig, you realize that that people aren’t all going to quit their jobs and $1,000 a month and there’s not going to be massive inflation and like all of these boogie men, because the truth is that right now we’re in a culture that emphasizes resource scarcity where it’s like, hey, there’s not enough to go around and if you get some that I somehow don’t get as much. And what really good leaders and many of the people watching this I’ve already done in their own organizations is to have a growth mindset and a mindset of abundance where there’s more to go around if we invest in people and then grow the pie, good companies invest in their people to grow themselves and have better performance.

Andrew Yang: But in the public sector, we think, oh, people are cost. We can’t spend money on that kid. We can’t spend it with my spend money on those groups. And we have to reverse that scarcity mindset to a mindset of a true abundance for really the country writ large.

Gene Hammett: So I want to kind of mentioned this to you before and this goes back. One of my mentors has been on my show before, made this reference to the 2016 election and I thought he was crazy and I thought he was just completely out of his mind. But he’s like, you know, looking back at the Obama years, the next president will the opposite, whatever you, his view is that the, the choice in front of you is the opposite of what Obama was. And I think that that came true with trump being elected in 2016 when you think about your presidential run, you are so opposite. Mr. Trump, president trump, if you will. That’s a good thing. And my perspective, tell us a little bit more about why that’s such a necessary thing to think about. The opposite of what we currently have.

Andrew Yang: Well, I couldn’t agree more and it’s been said Gene, the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man, but I would also suggest that, well, we need to do is we need to try and solve the problems that got Donald Trump elected. Why is Donald Trump our president today? It’s to me plain as day that the reason he is president is that we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa. All the swing states he needed to win that were purple. All went to trump because we blasted away millions of manufacturing jobs that were centered in those states. And now we’re about to do the same thing to millions of retail workers, call center workers, fast food workers, truck drivers, and on and on through the economy. And that is the problem set that we need to address. That’s the opposite. So Donald Trump’s solutions are, we should freeze time, turn the clock backwards and blame immigrants and build walls.

Gene Hammett: Let’s bring back coal.

Andrew Yang: We all know what everyone watching this knows is that what we need to do is the exact opposite of that. We need to move the clock forward, accelerate our society, accelerate our government, accelerate and invest in our people and that is the best way forward. So I couldn’t agree with you more that I am the opposite of Donald Trump and that’s why I’m going to win. That’s why I’m going to be president of the United States in 2021

Gene Hammett: well, Andrew, I wanted you to have you on here mainly because you’re a big thinker, like the fact that you are doing something about what we’re talking about this, this economy, our growth, our nation, something needs to be done and I really appreciate you being here. I do want to ask you something kind of different than what we’ve been talking about. Yeah, we’re recording this. It’s almost December. A lot of people think about goals. Do you have any special rituals or practices that you use when you’re setting goals?

Andrew Yang: You know my magic, and it’s not magic at all. Is this a write it down, like it turns out if you write it down, the odds of you doing it are much, much higher. And then you refer to it periodically and somehow on some level and you just end up moving yourself toward those goals. I had a list of goals I wrote down in my early twenties some of which were quite ridiculous honestly, where you’d look at it being like, you know, you’re going to run a company of this size or you’re going to do what to who? But then it turns out, and most of them I’ve accomplished and I found myself just moving in those directions for years. Some of those goals took years and years. So the, the magic to me is just writing them down.

Gene Hammett: Well, let’s go beyond that a little bit, Andrew. Like a lot of people are tempered by what they know how to do, what they believe might be possible, and for you to set out, you know, say I’m going to be the president of the United States. I mean, I understand your drive for this, but it’s a big goal. Like it’s a, it’s, there’s not many bigger ones for someone that has aspirations like this. So how do you, how would you suggest people to look at goals that they think are too big for their, their abilities?

Andrew Yang: You know, what I’ve found is that people really, really want to follow a vision. And if you have a vision for your business or organization or community and then you say, hey, it’s going to be like this, most people will look at you and be like, Huh, interesting. You know? And then there’ll be like shrug and then they’ll go about their day. And then if they come back like a little while later and then you made progress toward that vision, then they’ll look up and be like, Huh, maybe I should actually listen. Maybe I should do something to help this person. Maybe I should like associate myself with this person. Because now like I’m, I’m somewhat, you know, like pleased by the fact that like maybe I’ll know someone who made this thing happen. And that’s really the way leadership functions a lot of the time.

Andrew Yang: So I declared my candidacy for the presidency. Like you said, very big, lofty goal. But then people looked at it and said, well, he’s right about the problems. Like he’s thinking about the solutions and he’s thinking at the right level and the right scale. Maybe I should do something to help him. And so because of that, and now I’ve gotten tens of thousands of donations, the average donation size only been $11. So my fans are even cheaper than Bernie’s, which is great. I mean, you know, I’ll take it. And so one of the things that I’ve found over my career is like you, you set a vision and that helps get people on board. And the next thing is you build towards that vision and you evince commitment yourself. So in my case, quit my job, stepped down as CEO of the organization I founded putting money into my own campaign, have been traveling the country and working around the clock.

Andrew Yang: And then people respond to that. People can sense when you’re actually putting your, your heart and soul into something. And then what I’ve found is that you can do amazing things if you get the right people on board. Because the right people are attracted to the right vision.

Gene Hammett: Well that brings you back to that startup culture again, which vision is always such a big part of having that culture and engaging people in it. And I’m sure as you building out your staff here for this presidential election, that vision, having a clear vision of how you actually can get there, it’s been incredible to be able to get through it. One thing,

Andrew Yang: I’m going a suggestion, it’s a lot of fun. I’m running for president. You go in, you think, hey, this is like impossible. You know, you might think because we’ve got these giant pipes, they’re clogged full of money.

Andrew Yang: The whole thing is like a billion dollar infrastructure mess in terms of our organization who’s like, it’s like disintegrating into dysfunction. It’s terrible. But like other systems, and I found this out as an entrepreneur, you probe and then you figure out what the key leverage points are. You figuring out what the vulnerabilities in the system. So I figured out the vulnerabilities and the America’s political system, and it is the state of Iowa where if you climb through the porthole and you wind up in Iowa, and then you find a state of 3.1 million iowans who are incredibly passionate and activated about politics, but have a very, very high commitment voting system, the caucus system, so add a 3.1 million iowans, only 170,000 participated in in the Democratic Caucus in 2016 we’re talking about between five and 6% of the state. So how many Iowans do I need Andrew Yang to get onboard with the fact that they need to get $1,000 a month to counteract the fact that all of their main street stores are closing because of Amazon?

Andrew Yang: Out of 170,000 I might need 20 of the 30,000 to finish first in Iowa because it’s going to be a very crowded field. I’ve been to Iowa six times. There’s a video of me speaking to a thousand Iowans and event. I can get 20 to 30,000 Iowans on board with this vision of a human centered trickle up economy that helps rebuild their main street. And if I do that, I’m on the fast track to become president, the United States of America. So you look at it, it starts out as this enormous challenge, just like a lot of businesses, but then you break it down into its component parts and it becomes very, very achievable.

Gene Hammett: Well, I appreciate you sharing all this with us is very, very interesting for our, uh, our guests here. Different kind of conversation than we have on the show. But I really appreciate you being here. If I, our guests wanting to find out more about you, Andrew, where should we send them?

Andrew Yang: Yeah, just go to my website, my campaigns website, www.Yang2020.com or Google Andrew Yang and I’ll pop up. But you know, we know that we’re going through the greatest economic and technological transformation in the history of the world and our leaders need to wake up because right now our response to these changes is to pretend they’re not happening. The 30 thing led to Donald Trump, what will be the fourth, fifth and sixth and things look like the entrepreneurs of this country and the leaders of this country need to need to chart a new path for our economy and our country. And that’s what I’d love your help in doing. So again, www.Yang2020.com but let’s make it happen together and uh, appreciate the opportunity being here. Gene.

Gene Hammett: Thanks Andrew. And thanks for being here at leaders in the trenches.

Andrew Yang: My pleasure.

Gene Hammett: What a great conversation. I really was curious about how he thought about this and you know, I know he’s put a lot into it, the data and the research and everything that goes into this. And I probably don’t agree with all the things he says. I don’t know how the universal income would work, but I do see some value to change and we’ve got to look at disruption from different perspectives. We can’t just force things through the way they used to be. And so your business is probably critical for growth if you think about doing things differently. Hopefully this interview helps you. I appreciate it because I got to talk to someone who has a really big vision and who was doing something to make that happen. You probably feel very similar in the work that you’re doing now. If you have any questions about being a courageous leader, if you want to reach out and just connect or you think of someone that would be amazing to the show, make sure you reach out to me at [email protected] and as always, lead with courage and I’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

In this episode we’ll cover:

  • Growth Mindset
  • Startups Leaders
  • American Business History
  • Culture and Society in Terms of Entrepreneurship
  • Business Formation and Economic Growth
  • America’s political system
  • Greatest economic and technological transformation in the history



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